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Harold!
Photographs from the Harold Washington Years

An online exclusive review

(Northwestern University Press)

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Monday, January 21, 2008



Harold! Photographs from the Harold Washington Years

Photographs by Antonio Dickey and Marc PoKempner
Text by Salim Muwakkil
(Northwestern University Press)

Reviewed by Sybil Perez

From 1983 to 1987, Harold Washington presided over Chicago as the city's first African-American mayor. Less than a year into his second term, he died of a heart attack while at work in City Hall.

Cameras in hand, Antonio Dickey and Marc PoKempner were witness to the big moments those five short years. Dickey came to Washington as his campaign photographer — later becoming his personal photographer — and PoKempner was there as a stringer for several publications, including the New York Times, People and Time.

The images have been compiled in Harold! Photographs from the Harold Washington Years, a book published by Northwestern University Press in late 2007, the 20th anniversary of Washington's death. They give us a glimpse at those historic days, from early campaigning — one photograph shows Rosa Parks at a podium stumping for Washington as he looks on behind her — to the blocks long lines of mourners waiting for one last look as he lay in state at City Hall.

On this Martin Luther King Day, the words of Coretta Scott King come to mind. In a letter to the chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1974, she said, "We appreciate the efforts of the Honorable Harold Washington, State Representative from the 26th District, in making January 15th a state holiday in Illinois. We believe that it will eventually become a national holiday, and the leadership of the state of Illinois is making an important contribution to the achievement of this goal."

Honorable indeed.

 

 

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